About this artwork
One of the most accomplished color printmakers of his era, Charles Melchior Descourtis produced a body of work that is small and relatively unknown. Descourtis learned his method of multiple-plate color printing from Jean Frarnçois Janinet and like him used toolwork on the plate rather than aquatint, an acid immersion process used to create general areas of shading.
In this print, the governor of Mauritius, Monsieur Bourdonnais, has arrived for breakfast at the home of Paul and Virginie. He excitedly tells the family that Virginie’s wealthy aunt has requested for Virginie to join her at her house in Paris. The mothers agree, understanding that this could provide an opportunity for upward social mobility and a chance to inherit the aunt’s fortune. Additionally, they decide that separating their very close—but now adolescent—children could be the best way to prevent a relationship between them, which could ruin their social reputations and chances for future marriage.
- Currently Off View
- Prints and Drawings
- Charles Melchior Descourtis
- The Arrival of Bourdonnais
- Made 1795
- Etching and engraving printed in yellow, blue, red, and black inks on paper
- 375 × 410 mm (image); 420 × 465 mm (sheet, cut within platemark)
- The Joseph Brooks Fair Collection